Ludwik van den Berg died on Sunday at the age of 90. The Association of Space Explorers announced this on Monday. The chemical engineer, born in Slyskil in Zeeland, made a space flight on April 29, 1985, which lasted about seven days.
Thus, he became the first astronaut to be born in the Netherlands. Officially, Wubbo Ockels, who went into space six months later, is the first Dutch astronaut. Van den Berg was naturalized as a US citizen in the 1970s. He had already immigrated to the United States in the 1960s.
In 1974 Van den Berg received his Ph.D. from the United States. During his scientific work, he specialized in “cultivating” crystals. During his space flight, he investigated the effects of weightlessness on crystals.
“Working in space has nothing to do with the passport”
For Van den Berg, whose space flight, unlike those of Ockles and later Andre Kuipers, did not receive much media attention, the question about who was the first Dutchman in space was not a problem: “It has nothing to do with space work. Passport.” He said about it in 2005 Delft forecast. “This game of competence, which is the first, [heeft] It doesn’t make sense,” van den Berg says. “Most importantly, what have you contributed scientifically?”
In 2004, the current affairs program Netwerk broadcast a documentary about Van den Berg, The forgotten astronaut. In 2007, an asteroid was named after him. The celestial body, about 3.5 kilometers in diameter, orbits like most asteroids between the planets Mars and Jupiter, more than 300 million kilometers around the Sun.
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